Amerigo: The Man Who Gave His Name to America by Felipe Fernandez-ArmestoIn 1507, European cartographers were struggling to redraw their maps of the world and to name the newly found lands of the Western Hemisphere. The name they settled on: America, after Amerigo Vespucci, an obscure Florentine explorer.
In Amerigo, the award-winning scholar Felipe Fernandez-Armesto answers the question “What’s in a name?” by delivering a rousing flesh-and-blood narrative of the life and times of Amerigo Vespucci. Here we meet Amerigo as he really was: a sometime slaver and small-time jewel trader; a contemporary, confidant, and rival of Columbus; an amateur sorcerer who attained fame and honor by dint of a series of disastrous failures and equally grand self-reinventions. Filled with well-informed insights and amazing anecdotes, this magisterial and compulsively readable account sweeps readers from Medicean Florence to the Sevillian court of Ferdinand and Isabella, then across the Atlantic of Columbus to the brave New World where fortune favored the bold.
Amerigo Vespucci emerges from these pages as an irresistible avatar for the age of exploration–and as a man of genuine achievement as a voyager and chronicler of discovery. A product of the Florentine Renaissance, Amerigo in many ways was like his native Florence at the turn of the sixteenth century: fast-paced, flashy, competitive, acquisitive, and violent. His ability to sell himself–evident now, 500 years later, as an entire hemisphere that he did not “discover” bears his name–was legendary. But as Fernandez-Armesto ably demonstrates, there was indeed some fire to go with all the smoke: In addition to being a relentless salesman and possibly a ruthless appropriator of other people’s efforts, Amerigo was foremost a person of unique abilities, courage, and cunning. And now, in Amerigo, this mercurial and elusive figure finally has a biography to do full justice to both the man and his remarkable era.
“A dazzling new biography . . . an elegant tale.”
–Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“An outstanding historian of Atlantic exploration, Fernandez-Armesto delves into the oddities of cultural transmission that attached the name America to the continents discovered in the 1490s. Most know that it honors Amerigo Vespucci, whom the author introduces as an amazing Renaissance character independent of his name’s fame–and does Fernandez-Armesto ever deliver.”
–Booklist (starred review)
Which accurately describes the achievements of Amerigo Vespucci and his role during the Age of Discovery? He was an English explorer who was granted a charter by Queen Elizabeth and established the first European colonies in Virginia. He proved the New World was a separate landmass from Africa and Asia, and the Americas are named in his honor. He was a Portuguese explorer who sailed for Spain, becoming the first European to circumnavigate the world. He explored much of North America, including the Mississippi River, and developed relationships with native tribes. Is it C? Good heavens!
Amerigo Vespucci , born ? The name for the Americas is derived from his given name. Vespucci was the son of Nastagio, a notary. As a boy Vespucci was given a humanistic education by his uncle Giorgio Antonio. In he accompanied another relation, sent by the famous Italian Medici family to be their spokesman to the king of France. At the end of their agent, Giannotto Berardi, appears to have been engaged partly in fitting out ships; and Vespucci was probably present when Christopher Columbus returned from his first expedition, which Berardi had assisted. When Berardi died, either at the end of or at the beginning of , Vespucci became manager of the Sevilla agency.
Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci is best known for his namesake: the continents of North and South America. But why were these continents named after him, especially since his voyages happened after Christopher Columbus' famed sail on the ocean blue? Vespucci was the first person to recognize North and South America as distinct continents that were previously unknown to Europeans, Asians and Africans. Prior to Vespucci's discovery, explorers, including Columbus, had assumed that the New World was part of Asia. Vespucci made his discovery while sailing near the tip of South America in Amerigo Vespucci was one of many European explorers during the Age of Exploration, or Age of Discovery, which took place from the mids to mids. Spurred by curiosity and economic incentive, explorers traveled distances that were great feats for their day.
Amerigo Vespucci was an explorer who like Christopher Columbus and John Cabot had sailed westward from Europe to find Asia or more specifically India but ended up in Americas or what was then known as the New World. Interestingly, he identified the landmasses as continents and he inferred that the New World was not Asia or India but indeed a new place that was till then unknown to Europeans. While Vespucci can be regarded as less significant than Columbus or Cabot but his inference certainly had a rippling effect and eventually he got two continents in the world named after him. Amerigo Vespucci was born in Florence, Italy. He was educated and had been interested in maps and books since childhood. But he was not a mapmaker and navigator nor an explorer like Columbus or Cabot.